Colleges' program with China comes under Senate's crosshairs

A Senate panel is urging U.S. colleges to cut ties with a program operated by the Chinese government unless it provides transparency and offers America the same opportunity for outreach in China.

The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said Wednesday that the Confucius Institute program gives China too much control over programs in the United States.

More than 100 U.S. colleges host Confucius Institutes, which typically offer Chinese language courses. Teachers, textbooks and much of the funding come from an affiliate of China's Ministry of Education.

The U.S. office of the program did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Critics say the program is a threat to academic freedom and national security.

The Senate panel is urging greater oversight by federal officials.